Over the past decade the cloud storage industry has experienced explosive growth. According to NASDAQ, investments in key strategic areas such as big data analytics, enterprise mobile, security and cloud technology, is expected to increase to more than $40 million by 2018. With cloud-based services expected to increase exponentially in the future.
Accompanying this growth is an increase of hacks and data thefts. The recent Ashley Madison website hack revealed 36 million user email addresses, personal information and sexual preferences. The company's slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair,” and the sites hack made headlines around the world. Two Canadian law firms have since filed class-action lawsuits against Ashley Madison, with a combined total of $570M USD.
Storj is a decentralized cloud storage platform that uses blockchain and peer-to-peer technology to secure data. Shawn Wilkinson Founder and CEO at Storj explained, “The decentralized aspect of Storj means there are no central servers to be compromised, and because of the use of client-side encryption, only the end-users have access to their unencrypted files and encryption keys.”
“Storj is a platform, cryptocurrency, and suite of decentralized applications that allows users to store data in a secure and decentralized manner. It uses blockchain features like a transaction ledger, public/private key encryption, and cryptographic hash functions for security. Furthermore, it will be way cheaper (10x-to-100x), faster, and more secure than traditional cloud storage services.”
- Shawn Wilkinson, Storj Founder and CEO
Storj recently put their data capacity and uptime to the test with 300 participants. “We are thrilled to announce the start of Test Group B, we have met our first milestone of 100 GB in less than a day, and the second one (100 TB) in less than a week. During our preliminary test we rewarded participants with over 45,000 SJCX. Currently the network is over 500 TB,” stated a recent company announcement.
Participants within the Storj network can rent unused hard drive space, as “renters” or “farmers.” The platform uses a native cryptocurrency, Storjcoin X (SJCX), which makes trading storage space quick and anonymous.
To best protect user data, files are encrypted on users’ computers before they are uploaded. Each file is split up into chunks which are first encrypted and then distributed for storage across the Storj network. The network is comprised of DriveShare nodes run by users around the world.
Farmers use the DriveShare application which presents a simple interface, where users can check their current balance and hard drive space statistics. Renters can upload data files with MetaDisk, a web application which presents a simple drag-and-drop user interface.
Storj also allows users to create decentralized applications for accessing data. The team has already begun to see basic demos, using the MetaDisk API and pulling content from the network. Working examples include an image viewer, a .txt and .pdf viewer, a music player, and even a video service. Some of these services have even been added into a Storj Media Center.
“Storj Labs provides DaaS (Data-as-a-Service), as well as help building tools and APIs for customers to be able to interface with this new cloud storage model.” - Wilkinson
Nicola Minichiello, Storj Operations Manager, stated that the support Storj has received from the community has been incredible. “We have over 16,000 newsletter subscribers and nearly 2000 people on our Community Slack and counting... We answer dozens of questions through our Helpdesk and Social Media channels on a daily basis.”
“Even though we are at an early beta stage, there is an ever growing interest in Storj.”
- Nicola Minichiello, Storj Operations Manager
Having reached the first two milestones in the beta testing phase, 100GB and 100TB, the team have moved on to the third, 1PB of stored data. Wilkinson provided some examples to give an idea of just how big 1PB actually is. “Neurology: It is estimated that the human brain's ability to store memories is equivalent to about 2.5 petabytes of binary data. File sharing (centralized): At its 2012 closure of file storage services, Megaupload held ~28 petabytes of user uploaded data. Data mining: In August 2012, Facebook's Hadoop clusters include the largest single HDFS cluster known, with more than 100 PB physical disk space in a single HDFS filesystem.”
“Yahoo stores 2 petabytes of data on behavior.”
The team is currently conducting the beta with Test Group B, which will continue as long as improvements are made to the software, useful data is generated and they can reasonably reward participants.